Did I destroy Qubes backup/restore data?

On a Librem mini v2:
I took regular backups of Qubes 4.0.4 and verified that they were ok with the backup / verify only tool. All good.
Then I upgraded to 4.1, all fine but as it is not a laptop and has to use external, usb keyboard and mouse no sys-usb was created by default.
When I connected the backup medium I could not find any entries on it al all.
This is where I did a stupid thing; I ran mkfs.vfat - because some article on the internet said it was a good idea and it had worked to restore a different corrupted usb medium I had.
So here’s the question: Did I destroy all my Qubes 4.0 backups ? Or are they still on there and I just don’t know how to find them?
I’d be really, really happy for any help getting all that data back…
Sorry I realize this is off topic - not really a Qubes specific question.

NEVER trust “some article on the internet”.
In this case you have destroyed the file system on the drive and
replaced it with new.
It’s not impossible to recover data if this is all you have done.
Don’t touch that drive.
Don’t do anything else to it.
How much money do you have? How important are those backups, and the
data they contain? Do you have copies of the backups?

First thing to do is secure what’s left on the drive.
Pull it, get another drive the same size.
Report back.

1 Like

Hi unman, thanks for replying,

re. NEVER trust “some article on the internet”. - yeh . . . you do stuff . . . you know it’s dodgy . . . and you do it anyway . . . and when I say ‘you’, I mean me. Of course.

I have an emergency back up I can go to but that’s 3 or 4 months old. But the most important data is backed up again there.

I have done nothing else to that drive and I have a replacement of sufficient size - just don’t know how to recover it.

I can pay to get it recovered but I’d rather learn how myself.

I’m learning about drives, formats, partitions, etc. any suggestions for resources on the subject gladly accepted.


In general, merely “formatting” a drive doesn’t destroy the data. It can sometimes be retrieved using forensic recovery tools. (This is why securely erasing a hard drive requires overwriting all the data, for example.) Try searching the web for “how to recover data from a formatted drive” (and similar queries) to read and learn more about the topic. (Emphasis on “read and learn.” I’m not suggesting taking any action recommended by the random websites that turn up in your search results!)